The Best Hookers in Racing: An Interview with Neal McPhillips of Hooker Harness
Kate interviewed Neal McPhillips, on this episode of the Racing Insiders Podcast. One of the masterminds behind Hooker Harness, Neal brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on safety in the racing and aviation world. Whether you’re a racing enthusiast or simply love a good story, this interview is a must-listen.
Hooker Harness has been a long time supporter of the CARS Racing Show, and has also been a long time exhibitor. You can find Hooker Harness in Booth 108 at this year’s show, They will have items to purchase, as well as be willing to answer your racing harness questions. Neal will also have a display seat with a Hooker Harness to try out.
Topics covered in this interview include:
- History of Hooker Harness
- Ratcheting Belt Systems
- Improper Seatbelt Fits and Measuring Importance
- Proper Installation of Seatbelts
- Innovations in Seatbelts
- Seatbelt Care
- Seatbelt Lifespans
- Replacing and Recertifying Seatbelts
- Hooker Harness and Trade Shows
- Seatbelts and UV Damage
- Hooker Harness Over the Years
- Hookers Save Lives
- Neal’s Favorite Racing Stories
- Upcoming Trade Shows
- Hooker Harness Shock Covers
- Pit Mats
- Exciting Announcements
- The Importance of Safety
- Where to Find Hooker Harness
History of Hooker Harness (1:30)
So most people don’t know that we just had our 50th anniversary. But actually, the first set of belts were made and the business was started in 1972. So really, depending how you count the years we can call it technically 51 years old, but could be considered 50 as well. But either way, we got that surpassed. We started doing seat belts in aviation, making aviation belts – general aviation and then moved into some aerobatic applications, where we have for competition aerobatics, right. So, anything that you see go upside down on an airshow that’s not owned by the US Government, typically has our seatbelts in it. So some of the more popular things that people would see in that arena would be like, Red Bull Air racing right now, if you see the Red Bull Air Races, most of those airplanes, if not all have seatbelts in them from our company. Because we make a ratchet system similar to what we do in racing, but a ratchet system for aerobatic airplanes as well. So I did that for obviously, quite a few years didn’t really get into racing until probably 2000-2001. When we developed the ratchet that we use in auto racing now. So just drive ratchet on one of the seat belts, and you just use your hand tool to tighten it up, gets you super tight and locked into the seat. So mostly we’re known for ratchet belts for aviation and racing. But man, we do a ton of projects outside of that as well. We do a lot of towing type stuff, and we do some cargo airplane things, and some government contracts. Right. So just a lot of different things that we have going on.
Ratcheting Belt Systems (3:32)
You’re definitely with the ratchet belt, if you never tried them out, you know, on any show that we’re at, we generally always have one or two different seats to actually strap you in there so you can really understand what the difference is. I know you’ve been in one before. Honestly, that’s all we do at like PRI and that is like literally I’m on my knees for three days, strapping people into a seat showing you how it works and looking at the look on your face when it’s different than anything you’ve ever had. You really do feel more particularly talking to racing because that’s the audience here. Feel like more of a part of the car, right? So like, if you’re ratcheted down in a seat and your seat belts are tighter than they’ve ever been. Like if you feel this like sidewards motion, you know particularly let’s talk dirt for a minute right? If you feel that when your ratchet in, the car is loose like it is loose, right? If you don’t have a ratchet type system Your belts aren’t entirely tied in your slopping around in the seat, you might get a false read on the car, right? Some of our earliest customers in auto racing said, they literally picked up 1-2 tenths from getting our belts because they were able to diagnose the car better, they were able to feel the car better, and know that they had to make an adjustment sooner. So I thought that was interesting when people started to bring that up like I didn’t, I didn’t think about that, in the beginning, really popped up a lot, especially for really small folks and larger drivers as well, the ratchet system really works out well for all of them.
Improper Seatbelt Fits and Measuring Importance (5:39)
I wish I had that problem when I was racing (too much legroom), right? So I wish that I had the problem where I had more legroom, like literally, I could barely touch the gas and the brake at the same time, because my legs are so long and so big and late models are so tight already, and then you put all this stuff on. But yeah, there could be a problem. If you’re thinking you’re wide open, and you’re not. That definitely could be a problem.
Proper Installation of Seatbelts (6:43)
We try to make it as easy as possible. But you know, sometimes you just you’re dealing with the public, let’s just be honest, right average person, not an engineer, not always a, you know, somebody that’s, for lack of a better term, the sharpest tool in the shed, right there racers, but man racers will do dumb things, they just don’t pay attention, right. Probably one of the biggest things that happens in racing as the shoulder harness doesn’t get installed properly. Anytime, when you have a mounting point and what they call those three bar adapters, slider adapters, that you can make the shoulder harness shorter or longer at the anchor point. They tend to be put in quickly, and people don’t pay attention. That’s actually the diagram I showed you. So if you like, this kind of explains it a little bit. When you’re using that type of adapter, you can see on there that there’s three bars one is underneath next to the number one one is underneath the webbing, when you go around the tube, it should come back from the tube and go back through the adapter one more time. And then it should go over top of the bar like in slide three or Step Three There, and come back out the other side as well. So the webbing should make three passes through that adapter. And if it doesn’t make three passes, if it only makes two passes, like in bullet point to there, what will happen is that webbing will start to continue to move and move and move forward. And every time you tighten and loosen, it’s going to move forward and it’s going to move forward and it’s going to move forward. And at one point, what’s going to happen is that loose end is actually going to flip out of there, and you’re not going to have the shoulder harness on at that point. So you want to make sure it’s three passes to lock it in. And if you see where it says incorrect and correct, if you can see like in picture one and picture two, two bars of that three bar that is incorrect when it is in there correctly, you should only see one of those silver bars. So it could be on the shoulder harness. It could be on the seatbelt. It could be on the cross strap. Different manufacturers do different things as far as how they do the anchors, obviously different cars right on a sprint car, you’re going to have more of a wraparound situation on the seatbelt. So the same thing would apply there. Same thing could apply on the cross strap. But when you using that bar, you should always have the webbing through it three times.
Innovations in Seatbelts (09:53)
Man seatbelt technology isn’t entirely ever evolving, right? There’s, there’s a lot of things that happen there. And there’s a lot of parts and pieces that have been around since the 40s. Right? We use a lot of what they call milspec hardware, which means it was designed by the military for military use. And those pieces have been around for years and years and years, right. They’re super durable, they’re very easy to reproduce and forge. We don’t use a ton that stamped right, we were more into forged pieces. But technology wise, you know, there’s different grades of webbing people are trying to come out with newer weaves of webbing, different materials, there’s not a lot a ton of traction on that some people in Europe are trying to do stuff like that. We stick with, again, a milspec type material so that it’s super consistent. What a lot of people don’t understand is that there’s a gradient of webbing, right, there’s super cheap webbing, and then they’re super expensive webbing. And we’re going to be more toward the expensive side of the webbing, that’s going to mean that it’s more consistent, it’s more repeatable. When you test it, it’s going to test very similar every time. Where like toward the other end, you’re going to find 20-30% variance in 100 yards of material, like, you don’t want an inconsistent product. So you want to use more toward the higher end, right, like we could use different webbing and make our product cheaper. But I’m making it cheaper, and also making it more dangerous for you. So I don’t want to be any part of that type of program.
Seatbelt Care (12:03)
So again, a thing that we don’t give a lot of thought to, like we worked with several teams over the years, right? And what do we let the will well we let the new guys do right, we let them wash the car, and we let them do the tires, you know, and all those types of things. And problem is when we let them wash the car, they run the power washer across the webbing, right? That’s a bad thing, right? We can be cutting webbing fibers with a power washer. You might not see it today. You might not see it tomorrow, but it’s damaged and it’s happening. They also are going to spray all type of cleaning chemicals all over the car, right chemicals and webbing are not best friends. We don’t want any situation there. Right. So there’s a ton of things that are happening. That shouldn’t be- one of my best things that I did, I think when I was driving was we always got one of those giant garbage bags slit it down the side, always completely covered the seat covered as much of the seat belts as possible, including on the ratchet section taking even like a Walmart bag, wrapping that side of the seatbelt and the ratchet up completely tightly when you’re washing the car. You should try not to get the webbing wet as much as possible. You should try not to get petroleum products on it as much as possible. On our ratchet or on adjusters that have the lift lids on them. Right, you should use silicone spray water base spray that’s not petroleum based. Petroleum, again, and webbing are not best friends. So as much of that as you can keep off of there, the better. But really try to keep them clean and dry. But what I say clean, I mean, just don’t get them dirty, like try to just do as much as you can. You should not be using detergents on your seatbelts. You should not be using fabric softener. Right? If you go to the Google and you Google is fabric softener flammable, you will find out that it is. So why do I want to introduce something that’s flammable into something that I don’t want to burn? Right? So we got to be super cautious of that same thing with fire suits. We don’t want to be putting fabric softener on our fire suits, right? Yeah, it’s gonna feel better when you put it on but you’re adding something to it that’s flammable. So absolutely got to be careful with that kind of stuff.
Seatbelt Lifespans (15:03)
So on the racing side, most racing organizations are going to require belts to be replaced every two years. SFI is an organization that tests them, and we pay them to test them and we get their tags, and we are able to say that we’re certified through them. Those tags have changed a lot over the years, they used to be like a little punch tag where you would go in there and you would punch a hole and say these were made in August of 2023. And then it was your responsibility to look at that date and say, Okay, two years from now, that’s going to be August of 2025. Well, there was a lot of problems with that mentality, one of the biggest problems was, as a manufacturer, you could technically manufacture the belts and not punch the holes. And then you could send them to like a Crate Insider, and just say, “Hey, Kate, before you send these out, punch some holes in them. Okay.” That’s not really in the spirit of what the rule is about, right? We want to make sure that it’s a safe product that has not aged out that it’s not timed out. So they went to a new process, where are they put a expiration date on the tag now, right? So big difference, not a birth date, if you will, but an expiration date. So go two years. Big thing to point out that’s happened in the last I think it’s four years now is the tags have only been created for two dates of manufacture, right? There’s a tag that says certified for December, and there’s a tag that says it’s certified for June. And based on the time of year, you can use that tag, December tags up to June, you can use the June tags up through December. So for anybody out there that thinks if I wait until the absolute last minute to order my seat belts, because they’re going to have more life in them. That is not a correct statement any longer. Right? Before when we had the months in the years that was different. Everything we produced from December to June, will have that June tag on it, everything from June to December will have the December tag on it. So what that means guys is let’s not wait and say, I’m going to Speedweeks next week, and I need to set a seat belts that I knew I needed for the last three months. Like, let’s get them now. Now the one problem that we do have with that system, is this. I get a set now. And it’s dated in December, and it’s good, you’re good for two years. Every other cycle, I’m gonna basically end mid season. So I’m gonna have a set of belts, it’s gonna say June of let’s say 24. Go to like UMP Summer Nationals race, and they’re gonna inspect the belts. And they’re gonna say, Hey, man, you got like a week left on these? And they’re like, no, no, it says, it says 24 on them. Okay, well, that’s not December 24, it’s June 24. So now mid season, you need a set of seatbelts, you got to be careful that with this June and December tag thing, right, always try to get them, you know, where you need them in December. So you always get two full years out of them tried trying to get a little longer than that out of them is gonna cause you some pain. If you know you got two seasons on them, you should be getting a new system. Right? Now the benefit of our system, even though it’s a little more expensive on the front side, is that in two years, you can send them back to us. And we can rebuild it with all new webbing and new tags for two more years. Right. So for a fraction of the cost. So that’s an awesome program we have I mean, we have days where we’re getting a dozen and two dozen boxes in there of rebuilds, right, and cutting them up do a new webbing, rebuilding them, putting tags in them. And that has been an amazing program for us. And it saves the racer a little bit as well. Why are we throwing all this hardware away that’s in great shape. Even if you six times that year. It’s still aged, you still are out of scope, you still have to replace it. Why do I need to throw that hardware away? So obviously, if something needs to be replaced or repaired, we’re going to certainly do that as well. But it’s been an amazing program for us.
Replacing and Recertifying Seatbelts (19:42)
Yeah, we’re gonna cut all the webbing off. So we can see all the hardware like if there’s plating damage, we’re gonna say we need to replace it, something that happens in dirt racing all the time, that needs to be replaced as like the right side seat belt anchor, generally, that anchor is packed in like mud that you couldn’t get out of there can’t get out of there when you wash it all the time. So it sits in basically moisture, and it sits in mud. And it eats the plating off there and it starts to rust, we’re not going to send that back out that way, right? We’re gonna say, hey, it needs a new anchor on that side, we’re gonna replace that anchor, we’re gonna charge for the anchor. And we’re gonna rebuild it with a new piece on, right. So definitely going to take a look at all that as far as as many times, you know, it really just depends on how well you’re taking care of it. You know, if you’re running an asphalt, you’re not washing the interior of your car. It’s not seeing the type of damage you would on a dirt car. Right? So it really depends on the application for the most part, but one time, generally, for sure, two times possibility. Just got to look at it. It’s case by case. If there’s ever a question, take a picture of it, send it to me, Hey, that’s not worth sending in and like, you need to get a new set. Right? That looks fine to me. If we need to replace that one piece. We’ll do that. Right. Take a look at it real quick before you ship it in there.
Hooker Harness and Trade Shows (21:40)
Yeah, the biggest show we do is an aviation show. It’s Oshkosh Airshow Annual Convention. It’s usually at the end of July, early August. And man, I don’t know what they claim they put through there. I think it’s quarter million people or something over seven days. I mean, it’s a massive event. I think this year, I think there was I mean, it’s easily over 10,000 airplanes that come in there and a week I think I want to say it was 12 or 15,000. This year of just airplanes, right? Just it’s unbelievable. The traffic you get through there. And you get a variety of folks through there people are super high end have million dollar airplanes and beyond. And people that have, you know, home built airplanes, people are building ultralights you know, just all kinds of things. So it’s it’s definitely a huge aviation show. That’s our biggest show every year. Man, we couldn’t miss that for anything other than apparently COVID. Right. We’ve been at that show. I want to say 51 years we’ve been an exhibitor at that show. It would be 52. If we could say we went for the COVID year.
Seatbelts and UV Damage (24:12)
Yes, certainly UV damage is something that can deteriorate webbing. See that a lot more in aviation, right. So the biggest problem in aviation probably is UV, right? They’re going to see that it’s going to be direct. There’s no, you know, most canopy, their planes are wide open to the sun. If you store it outside, it’s going to be even worse, but they’re always getting UV exposure. When they’re in flight, there’s just not a way that you’re not going to get that right. When you see that in racing, generally it’s because somebody’s leaving the car outside. Believe it or not, there are people who do leave cars outside and you can see that damage as well.
The fast way to check for that is, it sounds funny, but it’s super easy. All you do is you take the webbing, and you flip it over and you look at the color of the back versus the color of the front, right. So sometimes you’ll see these posts on the Facebook where people have Hooker Harness on and like literally I know that that webbing should be like bright red, like a stop sign and it is white maybe pinkish hue. That is all UV damage. So just look at the backside versus the front. Not really an issue in racing, because we have to replace the belts every two years. They’re not under that type of requirements. So you really gotta keep an eye on people who are left to their own devices.
Hooker Harness Over the Years (31:14)
The coolest thing I can say about 50 years is, you know, we’ve got we’ve got some awesome customers, even to the extent of which we were able to acquire the first set of seatbelts ever made. On the aviation side, we actually have them in a display box, in our foyer at the shop. So I thought that was pretty cool. You know, that we keep very close with our customers, if you’ve ever seen and I know you have, like images of our shop, it’s covered with nothing but like, photos, posters, and things that people sent to us. It’s not that people come in there. And I think we buy all that stuff. And we request all that stuff. That literally is just stuff that is flat sent to us from racers and pilots, you know, stuff that signed. Actually a really great story is I had a customer come out from Chicago. We’re about two and a half, three hours out from Chicago, and they wanted to pick up a set of belts. So they picked up a set of belts. They were looking at all the pictures in there. And they saw a picture of their Aerobatic Team. And they said, what’s going on with that? And we really didn’t know what they were talking about. Because it was in a nice frame and everything right? They said, Well, why are all the other posters around it? Why do they all have autographs on why are they all signed and ours isn’t signed? We were like, Well, you didn’t give us one that was signed, right? Kind of got upset about that. And, you know, he got his belts, and he went home- drove home. And the showed up the next day with a poster with all of the team members had signed it drove back out just to drop it off because and he just didn’t want to be left out. Like he didn’t want to be the only one on the wall didn’t have signatures on it. So took about five, six hours out of his schedule to run back out there. So I thought that was a pretty cool story when it happened just like two years ago.
Hookers Save Lives (33:59)
I know that’s one thing that you want to talk about you know we love the use of the name you know where the name came from people think we built the company like around the name as far as like we’re trying to be comedic or whatever. Hooker was the original owner and founders last name. Right so that was his name and what he did right Hooker and harness right? So it wasn’t like we were trying to plan out a way to try to be funny or do anything like that. Technically the name is Hooker Custom Harness because we were making custom harnesses we shortened it to Hooker Harness just because it rolls out there a little bit easier, but just really really been amazing. We would play with the name a little bit we try not to cross lines but we try to have fun with the Hookers Save Lives was one of our popular shirts. We got the got Hooker shirts, and they get a look and they get attention and the You know, technically everyone calls the seatbelt hookers and they do save lives. Right? So it’s not really like we’re just playing a game with it. But you ride you the wind with it, right? So go with what they give you, right?
Neal’s Favorite Racing Stories (35:52)
Favorite stories from racing, I mean, you get to meet some really cool people in racing and aviation. And I’m not one to like name drop or anything like that. But let’s just say you really get to meet some really cool people. I will say one thing that we like to play amongst ourselves a little bit is like the like, I guess they call it like six degrees of separation, like how can you or the Kevin Bacon effects? Like, how many people do you need to go through to get from this person to this person? And it’s, it’s amazing how quickly that you can get to some people that like you would think, are somebody you could never approach like, I didn’t call somebody. And like literally, they could call somebody like super famous like, just unbelievable sometimes, right? I think that’s one of the things we just like to play with, right, we get to meet a lot, like I said, a lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds, you know, from racing backgrounds, and aviation backgrounds, people who are in wars and people who are heroes, there’s a lot of people who are racers that are veterans as well. And they get to tell you a lot of stories, but probably the neatest person I ever met. Nobody, except maybe like two or three of these people in my chat have heard of them was Victor Blanco. He was a Russian that stole a MIG from Russia, and flew t to Japan and defected and gave the gave the plane to the US to review and put it in crates and shipped back to Russia back in the day. I want to say this was in the 60s or the 70s. But I met him when I was like 16. And I was like, Who is this guy with two girlfriends and a beer and one elbow and a beer and the other elbow and one of his hand triple fists and drinking. And I was just like, Who is this guy? Like, who is this cat. And my brother told me about him. And then there’s actually a book about him. I can’t think of the name of the book of my brothers on he can probably say what the name of the book is. But he was just an interesting guy. And it wasn’t like we were best friends or anything like that. Just a really cool person to meet with a really cool experience in his life.
Upcoming Trade Shows (39:51)
So we’re committed to PRI, for sure. We’ve been at PRI since I want to say 2001. So definitely want to go back to that it’s always been a good show for us. So we have a little different deal at PRI than most to people in our industry, because you’re really not going to our competitors and going to their booth and trying out their belts for the most part like they’re just trying to like sell you like standard belts for the most part where we’re wanting you to come. And we want to like ratchet you in there and let you feel what it really feels like to be in and using our product before you even purchase it. Right. So we’re committed to PRI that’s a staple for us. We’re committed to CARS in Hickory. And not the best timing. I’ll be in Hickory for the CARS show. Looks like Scott will be same weekend at the Midwest Speed Expo in Springfield, Illinois, for the UMP Banquet is the same weekend. So it’s show UMP banquet that night. And then it’s a show the next day of Saturday and Sunday. So he’s gonna plan to be there a little closer to home. I’m gonna make the haul out to see you guys. And definitely, that’s been a good show for us. We’re excited to be in both places. But not perfect timing. Usually, that show was the following weekend. For some reason they moved it up a week this year.
Hooker Harness Shock Covers (44:04)
Yeah, the big advantage of the shock covers is you know, one thing I will tell you, we don’t do- we don’t make them in like 17 different sizes. We’re just not going to be part of that. Right. And the reason that is as like when you do like okay, I need one for 17 inch on the rear of this car and I need one that’s a 13 inch the rear of this car. Every time you pick it up, you’re gonna have the wrong one. Like I’m just telling you right now it’s racers logic like your pick up the 13 inch one when you need 17 inch one. It just doesn’t make any sense. So we make them one length. So for late models, they’ll fit the front they’ll fit the back they’ll fit a barrel spring. Instead of having that little quarter inch wide Velcro they’ve got two inch wide Velcro, which means that you can use it on a barrel spring, which you can have it a little looser or a little bit tighter. For modifieds, we do make a front shock cover, we make a front spring cover, and then we make our rear shock and spring cover because that’s a coil over, right? On some late models, we do have to use our modified version on the left rear where they’re using the big diameter springs on there. But really simple, really straightforward. And we’re not charging an arm and a leg. For them, we’re two thirds the cost of what most places are, I think a more durable product, I think a better product. I mean, I brake clean mine, I put mine through the washer, and they hold up and they keep coming back for more. So if I gotta buy a set a year of those, and they’re under 100 bucks, I mean, I think that you’re going to save the damage from your shocks and springs, at least $100 by having a shock conference on there.
Especially the one the one that I just couldn’t go without if I was running a modified is as long as your series will let you run it is the spring cover on the right front. If you don’t have a spring cover on the right front, and it’s muddy when you get there and that thing packs full of mud, and you go Blaze now in that first corner, that’s kind of change your spring rate and your car is gonna go straight off into the wall. And, or you’re going to feel it going that way and you’re going to turn it around, you’re going to back into the wall. And for like 20 bucks, we’re going to put a cover over it so it doesn’t pack full of mud like it just makes logical sense. We designed the modified ones, I think we’ve had those three years or four years now the late model ones we’ve had, I don’t know six or seven years now for sure. They’ve been a good product for us. We do do some covers for your droop limiters as well just because ones especially with springs in there, you get a rock in there, and it does the same thing. Damages it. Those are pretty popular again, as long as your series allows you to run it, why not run it because you’re just keeping mud and you’re keeping rocks and debris out of there. But other products you said we do do. We make those pit mats right. So 20 foot by 10 foot pit mats generally will make them in gray. Those have been a great product for us, man, they just put the pit lift in the middle of that thing. And man you drop any parts and pieces. It’s right on the tarp, you need to climb under there, you’re clean. It’s been raining in like Tri City last weekend rain for two days. And then we ran on the third day. And the ground is wet and not getting all muddy. Just throw that tarp down and stay dry. Those have been awesome for us. We do do a version of the same material of wheel covers, they go over like a wheel opening for a late model for a modified we do the same pieces can go on the back of the car, so you can’t see under the back of the car. They just snap on there. What else? Oh, tie downs, cars tie downs. Right? So tying the car down better. We use again a different webbing material. Anybody that gets those tie downs for their cars for the trailer. Man, they just they call me almost right away when they get them and they’re like, Man, I can’t believe we just made a four hour trip and not one click loose on this thing, right? So are really been a great product for us. We already have the parts, we already have the materials, we already have the machines to be able to make them. So why not venture out into something else we can do. Same thing with mats got the material. Same thing with the rack boots, we already had the material, right? So why not just take advantage of what we have.
Pit Mats (51:07)
I want to say the weight is 22 ounce, so it’s a heavy vinyl. They’re 20 foot by 10 foot as I said they’ve got a grommet every 60 inches around the outside. But if you’re using it for like a late model or modified, you’re using a pit lift to be perfectly honest with you just pin the four corners, put the pit lift in the middle, these things don’t blow up at all. To be honest with you, even without the pins, they don’t blow up because they’re heavier. It’s not like a tarp, you go into like a farm store and buy that blows up in the wind. These are going to be much heavier than that. But you definitely recommend pinning the four corners because when you drive on them a little bit and just start to put the clutch in and the tire strats ratchet a little, it’ll want to move it. So just to keep it positioned, you want to make sure to pin it down. What we’ll do is use those like just camping pins. I think I call them the smart guys. I guess they go to the farm store and they get like eight inch lag bolts. And they just put them in with a quarter inch drive impact. Yeah, impact the four corners. And when they’re done, they just impact the four corners out just the longest bolt you can find that fits through the grommet.
We do them in silver, because like the black colors, they’re gonna attract heat, it’s gonna be hot, you’re gonna go out for the heat rays, you’re gonna come back, you’re gonna sit on it, lay on it, and it’s going to be smokin hot, and you’re going to burn your arm off, right. So you try to keep them in a lighter color just for that reason. You can power wash them, you can scrub them down, people will take just a regular duct tape and make a mark where they put their pit lift, I’ll use that to make a mark where they put their wheels. So instead of having to figure out where the car always goes, just put it on there once and they kind of make some tape marks where it should be. And then if they got to replace that tape every year, every six months or whatever, they just replace it simple and easy. I’ve seen people get graphics and put them on there and just press on regular graphics. And they look great as well. I just don’t really want to be in the graphics business. I’ll send you the tarp if you want to get graphics on it you get graphics on it.
Exciting Announcements (53:56)
Yeah, just trying to do like a pre order on some of the big stuff. You know if you guys have ordered anything lately and you pay for shipping like shipping is like insane to me, it’s like a racket at this point. But the pit mats and those ratchet straps are probably two of our heavier items that we sell a lot in racing. So if you’re interested in those items, we’re doing a pre order for that where you can order and we’ll deliver to PRI will deliver to the CARS Show. We’ll deliver it to Midwest Speed Expo. We can deliver I don’t have it on the sheet here but I’m in St. Louis so I can deliver to the Dome if necessary. But it’s gonna save you somewhere between 30 and $50 worth of shipping per box of ratchets or per pit mat. If if you were able to pick it up from the show, so just want to put that out there gives us some time to make it gives us some time to get it done. And then you have it when the season starts and you save a little money on the shipping as well.
So they can preorder their seatbelts and let us know, you know, if there are specific colors or something they want, we certainly can drop those off at the show. As well as if you’re not in the purchasing, and you’re in the rebuilding of a set you already have. You can deliver and drop off to any of those shows. And we can haul back, save you the shipping in one direction, do the rebuild, and then we’re just shipping back to you in that direction. Back home. So maybe that PRI will get 3040 boxes there. I think at CARS, I usually get at least a dozen out there at least probably two dozen at the Midwest Speed Expo. Just folks dropping them off. Just make sure they’re tagged in a box with your name and all your information when you drop them off. Just don’t need them getting misplaced.
The Importance of Safety (56:30)
I mean, just in general, you know, safety is important, you know, the sports expensive, right? It’s always crazy to me that we’ll go out there and buy $4,000 for the shocks, but you want to arm wrestle with me over $50 on seat belts, right just doesn’t seem logical to me at all. My life is worth more to me and to my family than that $50, we need to argue over, we’re doing the best we can with pricing, we’ve only had one price increase that’s affected auto racing, since 2012. Right. So to say that to yourself, one price increase in 11 years, we’ve done the best we can to keep our hands around it. Certainly there are ways we could do things cheaper, but I’m not willing to go down the path of cheapening up parts and pieces to be able to do that. So take a look at them. Take a look at what we have all of our products, I think speak for themselves, the quality speaks for themselves. And we’re not sending anything out there that’s, that’s half hearted. I was even just talking to somebody over the weekend about our T shirts that we use a good grade a t shirt per the prints not peeling off. I mean, just absolutely saw some guys with super the dirtiest hats you’ve ever seen in your life with oil and grease on them. And other than oil and grease are standing strong, right? So you know, everything we try to do we try to keep top quality top of the line. And if we find out it’s not we we’re gonna pivot and we’re gonna figure out a different way to do it or a better way to do it. So you got questions, always ask, the biggest thing that I can say regarding seatbelt wise is just because it looks similar doesn’t mean the performance is similar, right? You can buy seat belts out there for $69.99. And there’s no way that they are anywhere near like what our ratchet system performs at – like this is just not possible. Right. It’s a lower grade of webbing, it’s probably less stitching, which is strength. It’s probably stamped material instead of Forge. It’s a whole lot of things that can go into this and ways you can cut costs. And you can pass a low level entry a lot easier than you can the top tier right so everybody considers NASCAR the top tier, we’re one of I believe four or five people that are approved to make belts at that level. Right so it’s not like we’re just doing the bottom end of anything that we do.
Where to Find Hooker Harness (59:10)
We do have a variety of people who are suppliers and vendors for us right you can get the belts from Crate Insider, you can get shock covers, you can get the rack boots, to be honest with you I’m sure if you called Kate said you wanted any of the other products she will figure out a way to get them as well. But we certainly have a variety of vendors and such that you can get them from a lot of manufacturers will also the chassis manufacturers can get the belts for you as well. You can get them from Rocket you can get them from Longhorn right all those all those places. But reach out when you got questions. Give us a call. See us at the shows to try out belts. I’m trying to keep a display seat in My truck that I take to the track to be able to allow you to try it out as well now that I got a bigger vehicle that allows me a little more room to be able to do that as well. For anybody who says, Hey, I’ve got this car and there’s no place, there’s no room for the ratchet. We’ve got a variety of extension plates that are available to be able to accommodate tight spaces, bigger seats for bigger drivers. We’ve got clamps to allow for ratchet belts that we put on sprint cars. So where there’s a will there’s a way very few vehicles have come through where we have not been able to get a ratchet, if that is what is desired by the customer.
Hooker Harness, Inc. was founded by innovator Jack Hooker. Jack began producing seatbelts and shoulder harnesses in New York in the early 1970’s. During the early years Jack produced a variety of harnesses primarily for the aviation industry. Through the years, Hooker Harness has become the most well known and respected producer of Aerobatic seatbelts and shoulder harnesses. The aviation background in harness production provided the foundation for Hooker Harnesses emergence into the racing industry. The company is now located in Freeport, Illinois.